A federal judge has pushed back a trial for the messy situation involving the ownership of the New Orleans Pelicans and New Orleans Saints. Tom Benson, owner of both teams, is 89 years old and suing in an attempt to remove ownership shares from trust funds set up for his daughter and grandchildren. In December of 2014, Benson had a falling out with those family members and has been looking to leave everything to his wife, Gayle, ever since. The trial was originally supposed to begin December 8.
A federal judge Tuesday (Aug. 30) pushed back a trial in Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson’s team ownership fight to February.
In the meantime, lawyers in the case have until Oct. 28 to question representatives of the National Football League and the National Basketball Association in depositions, U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo ordered.
Benson, 89, is suing to remove ownership shares in the Saints and Pelicans out of trust funds created for his daughter, Renee Benson, and grandchildren Rita and Ryan LeBlanc.
He disowned the would-be heirs after a bitter fallout in December 2014. The billionaire announced he instead intends to leave full ownership of the teams to his wife Gayle Benson.
The trusts involve include 60 percent of the Saints ownership and 95 percent of the Pelicans ownership. His grandchildren have blocked removal of the ownership shares in exchange for promissory notes because they didn’t feel the stipulation of replacement for equal value was good enough.
Benson purchased the Saints back in 1985. After the NBA purchased the Hornets (prior to being renamed the Pelicans) from George Shinn for $300 million in 2010 and operated the Hornets from 2010-12, they sold the franchise to Benson for $338 million. Benson agreed to keep the organization in New Orleans, which was a market the NBA didn’t want to lose.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Trial for Tom Benson’s Saints, Pelicans ownership dispute moved to February